Saturday, September 24, 2011

Working mother syndrome


Many of you are well aware of my on going confusion and uncertainty about everything in my life how I will educate my girls. I publicly declared, for the benefit of things working out how I want them to, that I want to home school my girls. I still believe that homeschooling and world travel would provide the best education possible for them but I am also coming to realize that  it is a full time job. Full time mothering is a full time job.  I have a full time job and for a while there thought I could fit the homeschooling into the extra. Being the sole provider of their education is not something for the extra. In the time that I am not at work, I am struggling to be one hundred percent present at home. We read books constantly, we take walks regularly, we do bath time and breakfast time and dinner time daily. On the weekends we go out and tend to the garden and cath up with the neighbors. I put them in their pajamas and we tuck them into bed every night, only to wake up and do it all over again the following day.

For those of you with children this will be something that you can easily relate to. For those of you that have full time jobs with two toddlers that you have to say goodbye to everyday and slink in guiltily to every evening, this will also sound familiar to you. Unfortunately I do not have any friends that have to leave their small children that age and go and be away from them all day. This is probably because I live in Morocco and it is not common. I have some work colleagues that also work all day and miss their kids, but they are older. I had one colleague that had a child the same age as mine and you know what? She quit...to be around him more.

Anyways, this post is not about me feeling bad for myself for having to find the balance between work and kids. I could quit too, or go to part time or just find a well paid part time teaching job somewhere.  I am not willing to do any of those things because I am ambitious and because I have worked hard to have my career.

I know this is a hot button subject and I don't say this meaning that stay at home moms are not ambitious. This is not a comparison, I am simply analysing myself and tyring to understand my own decisions. I am coming to see these years of heartache over missing them during the day as part of the work I have done to have a career. It is a choice. I chose a very long time ago to get into my field, I had good fortune and a good work ethic. I gave it all up once, I got it all back. I am not quitting now. I am proud of it. Would I rather be with my kids all day than at work? Yes. Am I hoping that as they grow and begin to have their own lives outside of our home, that feeling will get better? Yes. Do I know that I will never ever get all of these days away from them wathcing them grow and need me and being able to guide and love them to their maximum back? Yes. I know that. I do not have it so mixed up that I think that what I do all day is more important than that. I guess I am just trying to make it through though. I am trying to hang on tight and make it through these years of heart break. I am trying to do the best I can, go in as late as possible and leave as early as possible. I am delaying haircuts for six months at a time. I do nothing outside of work if not with them. I am putting aside me because I want to give as much as possible to them in the time I am not already promised somewhere else.

I know that won't last forever either. I know that soon I will scoop them up and take them to the hairdresser with me. They will sit quietly behind me in good behavior so that they can get their hair done after (if they ever get any hair). I will watch them as the hair dresser makes a big to do as though he is 'doing' their hair (this will happen because it is Morocco and no one would say no to it). They will be beautiful and we will talk and shop and go to plays together. They will be kind little companions. I already see it. We already share some of these moments, but then they are slashed by a two year old fit or a dirty diaper or running off and an inability to reason because they are still just my sweet little babies. I am not rushing them. I love these days, I love it when one of them cries out in the middle of the night and I have a good enough excuse to go and get her out of bed, clinging to me then cuddling down into the space between my body and the pillow.

I am just trying to do the best I can I guess. It is hard but it is beautiful.

I meant to write about wading my way through the education system here today. But I will save that. Trust. It is on the way.

Thanks for letting me share!

7 comments:

The Loerzels said...

Working mom, stay at home mom, it doesn't matter. We all have mom guilt. We firmly believe we should do it all, which is of course impossible. And no matter what choice you make, you'll always have a little "what if..." in the back of your mind because you're a good mom. And that's what we do.

What we can do as moms is make sure you the mom are personaly fulfilled. I know it sounds selfish, but it's like the put your own oxygen mask talk the flight attendant gives. You will be best for your kids when you've been the best for you first.

So if you love your career. Stay with it. Maybe there's a way to tweak it to fit your needs better. Maybe not. But either way, your love of what you do will be evident and WILL benefit your kids.

The guilt? Well that's just inevitable. It's just part of the irrationality of being a mom.So be the great mom that you are. Try to forgive yourself for not doing it all.

And if all else fails, just have a glass of wine with some dark chili chocolate and a good cry...cause from experience that's pretty therapeutic.

A Brilliant Life said...

Thanks for the support on this one! I know youa re right, mom guilt is prevalent. I think you seem to do a really good job of having other interests. It is something I admire about you. Was it harder to keep up with your kids were younger?

The Loerzels said...

Abso-freakin'-lutely! I had no life when my kids were little. That was a big mistake on my part...one of those what-ifs. I should have taken more time for me, but didn't. And yes, it's easier to have time to myself now because all the kids are in school. I waited much too long to realize I needed to be "selfish" to be a better mom to my kids. And I struggle daily with forgiving myself for the millions of mistakes, shortcomings I have. Motherhood is a journey and it twists and turns and changes. Thank god I also have great girlfriends who are my solace and inspiration in this whole mom thing! (I waited much too long on the great girlfriends things too.)

Elizabeth said...

I agree 100% with what The Loerzels said! You love those girls with all your heart -- and regardless of whether you're working inside or outside of the home, they'll turn out perfectly fine. I firmly believe that the best mom is a mentally healthy one, and if getting out of the house every day and interacting with adults in a career that you enjoy is what keeps you mentally healthy (as it does me), then that's the best parenting they could get! And I can't wait until they go to the salon for their haircuts -- post lots of pictures!

HeidiRaki said...

I am also a working mom in Morocco, with boys aged 7, 4 and 6 months. I'd love to get together and talk school system concepts. You can email me at hlraki@hotmail.com

As far as mommy guilt, I know I had it in the states and I have it here - it goes with the territory. I also know that I moved to Morocco so that I could give my kids the benefit of travel and exposure to multiple languages. All education doesn't happen in the classroom, but some of it should - for the sanity of working moms!

LaProfeViajera said...

Just sip your Moroccan tea, it will relax. It's a normal thing to have "mommy"guilts" as much as there is a "daughter guilt" when you're far and away. But one thing's for sure: your daughters will thank you for this all. Maybe at times they'll get into the "I hate you Mom" and "No one understand me", but you need to remember who you are and think about what you felt then in the past and remember there are stages, time passages.

You're not doing the best you can: you're doing great, outliving your own parents' expectations. You're doing more and more and better everyday, and your children will understand later in life and will love you for the wonderful, sacrificing mother you are.

Never give up the wonderful things you are, never give up your ambitions, Never be a quitter. Otherwise, your children might have an excuse to be a quitter too, and you want to be the epitome of success for them, both as a mother and as a hard-working woman.

Nona LaRue said...

wow. thank you sooo much for this post and all the comments. i very much needed to read it all! you are a wonderful mommy and thank goodness you like the career you leave them each day for ;) I only like the paycheck from mine haha. but it's good for the girls. You are good for the girls, working or not working. I know how it feels to be there and not be there, I feel so guilty on days like that but the way I figure it - some kids have it alot worse than a working, tired mommy ;)